I have been a Republican my entire voting life. I registered Republican when I was eligible and while I have never voted strictly down party lines, I have believed in much of what the Republican Party has stood for in previous years. But now, does anyone know what the Republican Party stands for today?
You see my dilemma, and while I would love to blame this parting of the ways on Donald Trump, I have to say it's been a long time coming.
For example something happened recently that makes me question much of the existing crop of Republicans, and it's something that has happened before. Let me explain -- anyone remember the Dixie Chicks? They made a few comments about then-President Bush that got them in a hot water with their fans, radio stations, and record companies.
Let me be clear, I disagreed with what they said. But as this quote, often mis-identified as being from Voltaire, explains my position:
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."John F. Kennedy said something similar:
"If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
We are supposed to have certain individual freedoms in this country, and one of those freedoms is free speech. While I disagreed with the Dixie Chicks comment, they have the right to say it! They were subjected to comments that threatened their citizenship, their career, their lives, and the lives of their children! Much of the worse invective came from self-described patriots and conservatives. I can understand not wanting to buy or listen to their music anymore, but death threats!
Apparently when it comes to 'free speech', far too many people think it means that folks are only free to speak publicly if they say something you agree with -- if not, you get to threaten their children. That's not free speech! Free speech doesn't not give anyone the right to threaten! Make no mistake, death threats are an assault! You've heard the phrase 'assault and battery'?
"In criminal and civil law, assault is an attempt to initiate harmful or offensive contact with a person, or a threat to do so. It is distinct from battery, which refers to the actual achievement of such contact."(Wikipedia: Assault)The Republican Party was founded on the ideology of 'Republicanism' which, among other things, stresses the rights of the individual. Tell me what part of individual rights means you cannot speak out your opinion without fear of death threats for you and your children? It is not patriotic to threaten someone with whom you disagree! I would go as far as to say it's Un-American -- but when you consider the bombast and vitriol dripping from many self-avowed Republicans in recent years it's seems to be becoming Un-American not to threaten those you disagree with!
I would love to say this is an isolated incident, but it's happening again! I disagree with Colin Kaepernick, one of the quarterbacks on the San Francisco 49'ers. If you haven't heard, he refused to stand for the National Anthem and has cited several reasons why he will not stand. Like I said, I disagree with him, but he has that right! Like the Dixie Chicks, he's getting quite a backlash, again from self-described patriots and conservatives, including that rather ridiculous figure that gives Alaska so much negative publicity:
"America - let's sack this ungrateful punk. Kaepernick - yeah, you're really "down with the oppressed" in this nation. Enjoying your $114 million contract, your previous adoring fans, sucking up a life of luxury... GOD AND COUNTRY GAVE YOU THIS OPPORTUNITY. You can't acknowledge that? Then on behalf of every Vet I'm privileged to know: GET THE HELL OUT."(Palin's Facebook)
I didn't want to turn this into an anti-Palin piece, but anyone else remember her defending that Duck Dynasty guy, claiming his right to free speech was violated? Hmm, where was her defense of the Dixie Chicks, or for that matter, Colin Kaepernick?
"Sarah Palin for one said (per CNN):See what I mean? As much as I would love to put the blame on people like Palin and Trump, it goes deeper than that. They epitomize the problem, but they are not the cause for it. I almost had some respect for Paul Ryan, but when he kowtowed and supported Trump, it was gone! There don't seem to be any Republicans worthy of the label 'Republican'.
"Those 'intolerants' hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us," Palin, who met the series' cast while on a book tour in Louisiana, wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of her and the cast of the A&E series." (What’s the difference between Duck Dynasty & The Dixie Chicks?)
What I see is a disturbing trend that is being exemplified by people all too many people who self-identify as Republicans. For quite some time I have felt that electing a President and Congress folks has not been an exercise in selecting the best person, but all too often it has boiled down to selecting the lesser of two evils. That was bad enough several Presidents ago, but it's gotten to the point of being a farce.
Republicans used to stand for so many things that made sense, reducing the national debt, smaller government, conservative fiscal policies, individual freedoms . . . but where has that all gone? The best you get today is lip service from dinosaurs who are so indebted to special interests that they forget they are supposed to be representing their constituents. Disagree? I welcome it, unlike others.
Here's a few examples:
- The political power of the oil and gas companies and the nearly incessant denial of climate change, contrary to all of the evidence.
- The power of the NRA to block any legislation that might stand a prayer of dealing with the issue of gun violence. You might educate yourself on the Dickey Amendment, not just the language, but the impact over the last 20 years.
- How many Republicans are pandering for the votes of the Christian Right? It's not because they share the same beliefs, but because voicing narrow views shared by religious conservatives is a way to get them to vote for you. Sure, tell me Donald has actually read the Bible? Anyone believe that?
- The amount of money shelled out by pharmaceutical companies for ownership of more than a small block of politicians, emphasizes most recently by the cost of EpiPens!.
- How about which politicians helped to tobacco and lead-additive companies get away with poisoning us for decades!
No, it's time for the modern day Republican Party to dissolve. It's over. The party of Jefferson and Lincoln no longer exists! The party I have supported for so long and continued to want to support has disappeared! It's time for a new party, one that represents and respects individual rights!